photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis
Metronomy @ MHOW 2/5/2014
Metronomy's Joseph Mount comes off as very much the genial "Carry On" English archetype. "I stepped in one of your famous New York ice traps," commenting on the city's current extremely slushy condition last night (2/5) at Music Hall of Williamsburg. "It was great for me... apart for the ice." The band are in NYC doing press for their new album, Love Letters (out next month), and worked in a show while here -- presented by BrooklynVegan -- which gave us a taste of the record, their new live line-up and stage show.
About that last part, gone are their signature glowing chest lights and in is a white dress code -- the men wearing wine-colored jackets -- and Davros-ian podiums for keyboardist Oscar Cash and new live addition Michael Lovett (of NZCA Lines and whose brother Gabriel Stebbing used to be in Metronomy). That makes for a blank canvas for simple but effective color projections. I miss the stick-it-and-click-it lights, but the new setup was pretty cool.
Metronomy bravely opened the show with three new songs -- the baroque "Monstrous," the vaguely psych "Month of Sundays" and the Bowie-esque current single "Love Letters." Given that almost no one's heard the album yet, I was surprised by this and that they played the entire new album save for opening cut "The Upsetter." This is not a bad thing, but the closest Love Letters comes to a banger is instrumental "Boy Racers" though it has more in common with Hot Butter's "Popcorn" than "The Bay" or "Radio Ladio" (both of which they played).
The new album's more pastoral bent is still decidely Metronomy-esque, though, and has a bunch of really great songs, including slow jam "I'm Aquarius" and what is maybe the record's best song, the ballad-ish "The Most Immaculate Haircut," which Mount dedicated to "anyone who's paid more than $30 for a haircut," adding, "My mum cuts mine."
The new stuff was counterbalanced with almost all the songs you'd want off The English Rivera and Nights out, including "The Look," "Heartbreaker," "Everything Goes My Way," and "She Wants." ("A Thing For Me" was the only glaring ommission, but they played for 90 minutes). Much credit, as always, to their killer rhythm section of drummer Anna Prior and bassist Gbenga Adelekan who really power Mount's quirky visions.
Opening last night was The Range, aka Providence knob-twiddler James Hinton whose 2013 album Nonfiction has gotten many accolades. Alone onstage with a table full of gear, his set sounded great even if there wasn't much to watch. You can catch him this Saturday (2/8) at Baby's All Right (tickets) and in May with CHVRCHES.
Metronomy's setlist and more pics from the MHOW show below...
A Month of Sundays
Everything Goes My Way
The Most Immaculate Haircut I get my mom to do it